Southern Tier TRIO Day 2015: “Power of the Past, Force of the Future”

TRIO Day Logo

This year the Director and Advisors here at the Cambridge Campus Upward Bound Program had the pleasure of being a part of the planning committee for the Southern Tier TRIO Day and we were so excited for our students to be able to take part in a fun-filled day of learning, exploring and networking with over 500 other TRIO students from around the southern part of the state. As you may know, TRIO consists of 7 different pre-college and college-access programs, working with students as young as 6th grade and spanning all the way into graduate school. There were TRIO students from all different programs who were in different parts of their journey and it was so great to see the interactions that took place throughout the day.

So what is TRIO Day? TRIO Day is an annual event hosted by different TRIO programs on different college campuses each year as an opportunity for students to come together, meet fellow TRIO students who share common goals and enjoy what it means to be a member of a TRIO Program. Students are given the opportunity to feel what it is like to attend a professional-feeling conference and practice skills they will need for life including networking, advocacy and education beyond the classroom.

The theme of this year’s Southern TRIO Day was “Power of the Past, Force of the Future” and this is really fitting as we have just celebrated the 50th Anniversary of TRIO Upward Bound. As a planning committee we wanted to recognize and show appreciation to all the hard work that was done in the last 50 years to open the doors for equal access to education and start the conversation about what successes the future holds in regards to this same fight.  It is important to remember that for a program like TRIO we need to always keep our name relevant and never let people forget the success that we have had in helping students who come from under-served populations make a promising future for themselves.

This year’s event was held on the beautiful campus of North Hennepin Community College located in Brooklyn Park and students had the opportunity to take part in a wide variety of activities throughout the day. Students arrived bright and early with their TRIO Directors and Advisors to enjoy a delicious breakfast and spend some time browsing the book swap and the college fair. This year there was a new element added to TRIO Day and it was a huge hit with all the students. One of the member of the planning committee had the great idea of hosting a book swap. The idea of a book swap is that students could bring one or more books that they had already enjoyed and swap them out for new books to take home. The company Half Price Books made a generous donation to our event and set us up with hundreds of books for kids and young adults. Students really enjoyed fining new reads and getting to go home with a few new books for themselves and their siblings. Another highlight of the day was the college fair- students had the opportunity to speak with representatives from 19 different colleges around the region and learn about the new and exciting things happening on their campuses. In order to get the most out of the college fair each student was given a passport to fill out that contained information about the different colleges. This was a great tool for students as they made their way through the busy fair and learned about each school. Here are a few photos from the morning:

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To start the day out we all joined together in the gymnasium on the North Hennepin Campus and listened to a phenomenal motivational teacher named Jermaine Davis. Jermaine’s Keynote was titled: Breaking the Cycle: The Real Deal on Achieving Your Dreams and Goals. Jermaine captivated the TRIO students and staff as he spoke of finding your personal strengths and talents as a secret to individual success. Jermaine is an upbeat, powerful and passionate man who speaks from his heart and made a positive impact on our students.

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After the keynote address students headed to the different presentations they chose to attend. All the breakout sessions were planned using feedback we received from students regarding what they wanted to learn more about. Here is a list of the topics that students got to choose from:

  • College Representative Panel
  • College Life: What Does ‘College’ Look Like?
  • How to Become Your Own Boss in Your 20’s
  • Study a-What? Information about Study Abroad
  • Budget for Life: Budgeting for the Life you Want
  • Networking 101
  • Body Calm Yoga
  • Positive Illusions: The Numbers on Mental Health, Relationships and the Awesomeness Factor
  • Gaming the System: Discover the World of Video Game Studies
  • A Day in the Life of a Case Manager: Beginning of Social Work
  • Tapping Into Your Potential
  • Diversity, Equity and College Success
  • Financial Aid 101
  • What is a Nurse and How Do I Know if I Want to Be One?
  • Product Design with the Consumer in Mind: an Exploration in Market Research
  • Dollars for Scholarship
  • Aikido: Traditional Japanese Martial Art
  • Leadership-Followership
  • From 14th & Windlake to St. Cloud State University
  • Money in Your Pocket: Getting and Keeping a Good Job
  • College? Really?
  • How to Succeed in College: Dos and DONTS
  • Transferring, It Can Be Easy
  • 5 Secrets of Successful Communicators
  • Making the Admissions Decision
  • College Sports
  • Living Life as a Possibility
  • Google-SMASH Exploratory Adventure
  • Meet Carlos: From Associate in Arts to a Bachelor of Science
  • Sexual Decision Making: It’s Your Choice!

In between the morning and afternoon breakout sessions there was time for students to enjoy a delicious lunch, continue exploring the college fair and check out the book swap again to see what treasures they could find. Students were working hard all throughout the day to earn raffle tickets for the prize drawing that would happen at the end of the day. There were several ways students could earn tickets: bringing books to the book swap, filling out their college fair passport, turning in evaluations of the different sessions they attended and completing postcards that would be sent to their representatives advocating on behalf of TRIO. Students were eager for the chance to earn the tickets and make their way over to the prize boxes to drop their tickets in.

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To finish off the day we had all the TRIO students come together in the gymnasium again for the last couple of events. One thing the planning committee was very excited for was the TRIO Alumni panel that was planned for the end of the day. This panel consisted of individual’s who’s lives had been impacted by TRIO in some way. These students were members of many of the different TRIO Programs including Student Support Services, Upward Bound, McNair Scholars and Educational Talent Search and each of them had the opportunity to share the positive experiences that TRIO provided to them. The exciting part about the Alumni panel was that we encouraged student participation by having all students use their cell phones to send in questions that they wanted the panel to answer. Students did a great job of coming up with interesting and insightful questions for our panelists. Students wanted to know about choosing and changing majors, TRIO memories, impacts college has made in their lives and much more.

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Next we took a few minutes to watch a couple of videos that were sent to us from our U.S Senators for Minnesota, Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar. It was an honor that they took time to address our students and praise them for all the hard work they are putting in to their education and their future. Both Senator Franken and Klobuchar are supporters of TRIO programs and we are so grateful that they understand the positive impact that TRIO has on thousands of students across Minnesota and across the nation.

We were getting to the end of the day right before students boarded the buses and made their way back to their respective schools but there were just a couple things left to accomplish. One of these things was the much-anticipated raffle drawing. Students had the ability to drop their hard-earned raffle tickets into 9 different boxes throughout the day and it was finally time for them to see if they would be one of the lucky ones chosen for a prize. In the 9 different categories that students had to choose from there were over 100 raffle winners. Prizes included awesome college gear from different schools around the state, gift cards to various restaurants, tickets to sporting events, signed sports memorabilia including a basketball signed by the entire Minnesota Lynx team, some really great technology items including headphones, tablets and the coveted prize of the day: a Chromebook! Raffle numbers were being frantically called out and students were celebrating their win as they made their way from the bleachers to claim their prizes. It was so great to see the look of excitement and happiness on students’ faces as they brought their prizes back to their seats and celebrated with their friends.

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Our very final event to wrap up a spectacular TRIO day was a TRIO cheer. Students in TRIO understand that their Advisors and Directors like to celebrate EVERYTHING: getting an A on a test, earning a local scholarship, finding out you were accepted into your #1 school, not spilling your lunch on yourself. Really, anything worth celebrating is fair game for a cheer or a high-five from a TRIO staff member. Even though students moan and groan about it, we know they secretly enjoy our non-stop enthusiasm. We got all the students on their feet and had half of the room chanting “TRIO” while the other half was yelling “WORKS!!” Eventually all students were on their feet chanting the TRIO WORKS!! Mantra and ending the day in a roar of student enthusiasm!

As the buses left the parking lot and the halls began to quiet down there was a sense of great accomplishment. Not only the feeling of accomplishment for a wonderful TRIO Day, but the sense that these students who took part in TRIO Day will accomplish wonderful things in their lifetimes and will someday be able to say “I was impacted by TRIO and look at all the amazing things I have done.”

A special thank you to all the members of the planning committee who works so diligently to make TRIO day a success. Thank you to Directors and Advisors who brought their students to TRIO Day and thank you to all the TRIO participants who are the reason for such a great event to happen!

TRIO at the Twins Game!


TRIO has an exciting opportunity we wanted to share with all of you: TRIO at the Twins Game!

Please consider supporting MN TRIO by purchasing a Twins ticket and/or  MN TRIO T-shirt.  Proceeds from the T-shirt sales and $4 for each ticket will go to support the MN TRIO Association and the professionals and students it serves. Click on this link for the MNTRIO Fundraiser Order Form 2015!

TRIO students, staff, alumni, supporters, campus faculty, friends and family are invited to join us! Please help spread the word! We thank you for your support!

Minnesota TRIO (MNTRIO) is the professional organization for personnel affiliated with TRIO, GEAR UP, and other Educational Opportunity Programs throughout the state of Minnesota.  If you support equal access to education, Minnesota TRIO is the organization for you!  To learn more about our program, go to

College Knowledge Month Success


As October is coming to an end we wanted to share with all of our Upward Bound followers the great work that our TRIO seniors did this month. This past week has been “Free College Application Week” and our students have worked hard to apply to all the colleges and universities they are interested in- especially taking advantage of the free applications available at various Minnesota schools. Here is the impressive breakdown:

Total Number of seniors in Upward Bound: 34

Total number of Applications: 91

Where our Students Applied:  

St. Cloud State University: 15 Applications

Winona State University: 7 Applications

University of Minnesota Duluth: 6 Applications

Anoka Ramsey Community College: 5 Applications

University of Minnesota Twin Cities: 4 Applications

Minnesota State University Mankato: 4 Applications

College of St. Scholastica: 4 Applications

St. Thomas University: 4 Applications

Bemidji State University: 3 Applications

College of St. Benedict: 3 Applications

University of Wisconsin Superior: 3 Applications

Bethel University: 3 Applications

University of Wisconsin River Falls: 3 Applications

North Dakota State College of Science: 2 Applications

Hamline University: 2 Applications

St. Catherine University: 2 Applications

Augsburg College: 2 Applications

Anoka Technical College: 2 Applications

North Dakota State University: 2 Applications

St. Norbert College

Century College

Metro State

Northland Community College

St. Olaf College

Minnesota State University Moorhead

Itasca Community College

Vermillion Community College

Ridgewater Community College

Full Sail University

St. Cloud Technical and Community College

Auburn State

Concordia Moorhead

Alabama State

University of Wisconsin La Crosse

Gustavus Adolphus

The staff in the Upward Bound office is so excited to see where all of our seniors will end up and we applaud them for working hard this month to get all of their college applications taken care of. As you can see from the list of colleges above, we will potentially have students all over the state and even the country! It can be a scary and overwhelming for seniors to think about moving far away from home and starting a whole new chapter of their lives but we are confident that all of our seniors will be successful!

As parents and students read this list we hope that the college conversations continue beyond College Knowledge Month, after all, the application is only the first step of the college adventure! Our seniors will spend the next few weeks wrapping up the loose ends on their applications (getting letters of recommendation completed, having transcripts sent to each college) and it is our goal for all of our seniors to be completely done with applications by Thanksgiving break. The next step in the process is often the most difficult- the waiting game! Students will start to hear back about college acceptance in late December/January and then we will be getting started on filling out the FAFSA to determine financial aid qualifications for our students.

Seniors need to keep in mind as well that now is the perfect time to start looking at scholarship opportunities within their high school, community and within the state. Our November Saturday Session (November 22nd) will be a great opportunity for all of our students to learn all about scholarships and have time to start applying to a few. Remember that on our D2L page we have a variety of resources for scholarship information- check it out!


October is College Knowledge Month!

What is College Knowledge Month?

Minnesota, in collaboration with the United States Department of Education, is pleased to announce October as College Knowledge Month. Throughout the month, high schools across the state will host events to assist students with the college application process. This year our TRIO Upward Bound Program will participate in the College Knowledge Month effort, with the goal of ensuring that all of our seniors apply to at least one post-secondary program and our other Upward Bound students have the opportunity to learn more about their post-secondary options.

The original goal of College Knowledge Month was to provide an opportunity for all Minnesota seniors to complete and file college applications and this effort has evolved into a time dedicated to helping students discover their college path.  To us, “college” or “post-secondary” means any education program beyond high school including two-year and four-year degree programs. This initiative is so important because research shows that most new jobs will require some form of education and training beyond high school.

Why College Knowledge Month?

As an Upward Bound program it is our mission and goal for our students to graduate high school and move on to a post-secondary option that fits them best, so you may be wondering why we are making College Knowledge Month such a big deal when this is what we do all year. Here are a few reasons we are taking part in College Knowledge Month this year:

  • Each high school that we serve will be taking part in College Knowledge Month in some capacity and this is a great opportunity for us to collaborate with our High Schools and ensure that our students are hearing all about college all month long.
  • October is a key month in the college applications process for our seniors and having the emphasis on College Knowledge Month allows our students to get the support and assistance they need during the application process both in school and during the tutoring sessions after school with TRIO.
  • Because this is a recognized event throughout the entire state, there are a number of Minnesota colleges offering to waive their application fee at some point in October- THIS IS HUGE! We can use this opportunity to have our students apply to their choice colleges for free!
  • We want to get all of our students involved with the college exploration process: having 9-11th graders seeing what the seniors are experiencing during the application process is a great way to grow the excitement about college!

TRIO Events in October:

Wednesday October 1st: College visit to Hamline and Augsburg (juniors and Seniors- this is during the school day and parents will need to call in and excuse their child)

Saturday October 4th: College visit to Bemidji State University (this event is open to all TRIO students and is an optional college visit that will be taking place on a Saturday. Note: this is a longer day)

Tuesday October 7th: National College Fair (evening event open to juniors and Seniors- transportation is not provided to Anoka Ramsey Community College, students will need to get themselves to Cambridge and home after the event but we will provide dinner to all students in attendance).

Thursday October 16th: college visit to St. Cloud State University and St. Cloud Technical and Community College (juniors and seniors only- this is a first-come-first-served event and we have to limit attendance to 20 students, if interested please talk to your Advisor ASAP). This is a non-school day event.

The last week of October (27th-30th): Upward Bound Advisors will be staying after tutoring to give the seniors the opportunity to apply for the colleges they are interested in. Parents are welcome to come in and be a part of this exciting process!

Wear your college gear! The advisors will be sporting their college gear during the month and we encourage students to wear any college gear that they might have.

College Trivia: students will have the opportunity to test their college knowledge throughout the month and win some sweet college swag!

Linking our interests, skills and strengths with majors and careers: each grade level will participate in a different activity during tutoring throughout the month that will move them one step closer to finding the perfect post-secondary fit.

Help us Spread the Excitement!

We are eager to work this month on engaging our TRIO students in the college exploration process and we look forward to seeing everyone get excited about College Knowledge Month! We encourage everyone to make college a topic of conversation throughout the month with everyone you know!

Here are some helpful links to check out for college information and exploration:

College Knowledge Month Website – a great place to learn more about CKM!

Collegeboard – an inside source for all things college!

Financial Aid Toolkit – learn all about paying for college here!



A truly AMAZING Saturday with TRIO!

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We are back into the swing of things here at TRIO- Kicking off our school year with a great Saturday session! Students were excited to see each other as they made their way into the Anoka-Ramsey Community College campus on Saturday morning. Even though we were recently all together back in mid-July for our epic summer trip to Winona it was still nice to see all the smiling faces of our TRIO students. The kickoff event included a parent/student breakout session that gave grade-specific information all about upcoming events and information to keep in mind, some sweet team-building activities that get our kids working together,  some time for students to show their skills in a kickball game and a truly AMAZING challenge that wrapped up our day- the TRIO Amazing Race. Now, it should be mentioned that the TRIO Advisors- Kelly, Monica and Lauren were recently at a National Conference for the Council for Opportunity in Education and took part in an Amazing Race that they won first place in! Having had the great experience in DC, they wanted to share the fun with the TRIO students. Teams were formed and the rules were explained to the students- each team had to find the location of each task, complete the task and make their way to the next location. Teams had to work together to complete the different tasks and would earn points based on how many tries it took to complete the task. Some of the tasks included math riddles, a Sudoku puzzle, the human knot and a thrilling game of leap-frog. Teams were then to race back to home base and the team with the highest total number of points would be crowned the Amazing Race champions!  Even though the race had to be cut a bit short due to weather- most students were able to make it to all the stations and back to home base in time. The winning team (winning by 1 point) was the Killer Dragons!

Here are a few pictures of the day- if you would like to see more you can check out our Facebook Page!

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Another TRIO Summer Program in the Books


We have successfully completed another TRIO Upward Bound Summer Program and it was one that will not be soon forgotten! For those of you who are friends with us on Facebook or follow our Twitter feed, you have probably seen some of the fun that we have had in the last six weeks (if you aren’t connected with our social media- DO IT!).

Hint: Search Upward Bound Cambridge Campus to become our friend on Facebook- the link above brings you to our “like” page. Facebook is so goofy.

Academic Classes

This year the Summer Program started right after school let out- you can blame the crazy Minnesota winter and all of the school closings for that one. Without even a small break as a reprieve from academics our dedicated students jumped right into their summer classes. This year students took Math, English, Physics or Environmental Science and Spanish. Our teachers for the Summer Program were amazing and I think it’s safe to say that our students were entertained as well enriched in all subject areas. Some of the academic fun included using their creative brains to dream up their ideal Utopian world in English and debating with other groups about who had the best Utopian society, making roller coasters and launching rockets in Physics class, creating murals on the sidewalks of the college for Spanish class and taking samples from the pond for Environmental Science. Students had the opportunity to take part in hands-on learning and many students enjoyed the academic portion of our summer. The intention of the Summer Program is to enrich our students’ learning experience and prepare them for the upcoming school year.


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What is a good Summer Program without some non-classroom fun?!? This summer we designated Mondays as our field trip days and we were able to get students off campus and out exploring what our great state has to offer! We started off the summer with a couple of college visits and a kickoff BBQ. Students had the option of college tours at Metropolitan State University and St. Thomas University where they were able to see the campus and learn about all that these two schools had to offer. We all met back at ARCC for a BBQ put on by Chef Ryan- our Upward Bound Director. Now, if you ask the kids they were not the biggest fan of his BBQ skills but he will have a chance for redemption soon.


Our second Monday trip was a wild one- we took our students for a sunny afternoon at Como Zoo. Students had a great time checking out all the animals and botanical gardens and then we met on the lawn for a pizza picnic (because honestly, what is TRIO without Dominos?)


Our final Monday trip we ventured out of Minnesota and headed over to River Falls, Wisconsin for a tour of their beautiful campus. Students got to see what this college offered and enjoyed yet another meal in the college dining hall (it’s the small things in life, really). The feedback from this adventure was great and we had a lot of students show interest in this school.


TRIO Class

An update on our video competition for those of you who read our last blog post and want to know how it turned out. Students did and AMAZING job working in small groups to create videos that encapsulate the fun and fulfilling opportunities that TRIO Upward Bound has provided them with. We had a total of 5 videos completed at the end of the Summer Program and we spent an afternoon watching the videos and celebrating all the hard work that our students put into them. For those of you who have never created a video- it’s not easy! Lots of coordination and technology skill were needed to make the videos come together into a project that our students were proud to present to others. Although at times the process was frustrating and took a great deal of patience on the part of our students, they did a great job and should be proud of their efforts! Upward Bound staff had the difficult task of choosing one of the videos to submit to the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) video competition and this is the one we picked TRIO Upward Bound: Having Fun while Achieving Our Dreams

Summer Trip

Last but certainly not least, we closed out the summer with an unforgettable trip to Winona, Minnesota for three days of fun, friendship and #TRIOfamily bonding time. This year is a bit different than past summers due to the budget cuts that we faced- the advisors had to work hard and be creative on a tight budget. I think it’s safe to say that this trip surpassed everyone’s expectations.


We headed out on Wednesday morning and drove straight through to Winona. The scenery on the bus ride south was awesome and students were anxious to arrive and get their mini-vacation started! Winona State University was gracious enough to host us for the three days we were in town and we had the pleasure of staying in one of their new suite-style residence halls. Needless to say- students were impressed with their digs and us advisors had to gently remind them that this residence hall is far from “traditional” (lets be real- air conditioning in college?!? Keep dreaming kids). Day one was filled with activities for our students to take part in. Our first adventure was a campus tour and admissions presentation from our gracious hosts at Winona State University. Students got to see what Winona had to offer and sampled some delicious college dining hall cuisine. No college campus visit is complete without a trip through the bookstore as well- students got to spend some money that was burning a hole in their pocket and many picked out some Warrior gear to sport for the next three days. In the afternoon on Wednesday we took the opportunity to enjoy the AWESOME weather and we flocked to the local beach. Students had a blast swimming, catching some rays and throwing around the football. It seems like a little structured free-time was just what they needed. We wrapped up our first night away in the best way we knew how- cosmic bowling. The staff at Winona Bowl provided great service- they turned on the cosmic lights, cranked up some tunes and gave our students two hours of bowling fun. Let’s just be honest- our students are awesome and could have fun anywhere, but neon lights and loud music really got them going! There were mini-dance parties and bowling contests along with literally hundreds of selfies (because, why not?!).

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Day two provided another beautiful scenic drive as we made our way into La Crosse, Wisconsin for a tour of their campus. Students enjoyed the college visit as well as another opportunity to buy some goodies at the bookstore and eat yet-another dining hall meal. Our second stop on day two was a pretty cool site- we drove all the way to the top of Grandad Bluff and students were able to walk out to the edge of the overlook and snap some pictures. The bus ride up to the top was pretty intense being that the bluff is located 600 feet up (our bus drivers are awesome, by the way) and students were wondering how we were going to get back down (reverse, duh). In mid-afternoon students go the choice: head back to the beach or head to the movie theater for some quiet time. Students who went to the movie got to see How to Train Your Dragon 2 and students who went to the beach enjoyed another day in the sun. Our event-filled day two wrapped up with a buffet style dinner at the Green Mill in Winona where students enjoyed the company of their fellow TRIO members and had the opportunity to chat with people that they don’t get to see all the time. Before heading back to the residence hall for the night we made an impromptu stop at the local Dairy Queen and ended the evening with a sweet treat (they were also great- 75 people shuffling through a tiny Dairy Queen is not easy).

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Day three was our final leg of the trip and we had to hit one more college before making the trek back north. We were able to have a great campus visit and admissions presentation from the folks at St. Mary’s University in Winona- their staff from the Student Success Center even put on a family-feud style game that the students really enjoyed. After another dining hall experience and walk through the bookstore students were ready to board the bus and head home. Even though our trip was a shorter one this year, I think it’s safe to say our students were ready to be back in the comfort of their own homes! Overall our Summer Program was a great success and the end-of-the-year summer trip was icing on the cake.

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One theme that we have been working on instilling into our Upward Bound program this year is the idea of TRIO family- we want our students to feel support from all other Upward Bound students, not only the fellow TRIO members at their respective schools. TRIO Upward Bound is an opportunity to receive support from not only TRIO advisors but literally hundreds of other students who are on the same adventure.

We want to thank everyone who made our trip great, without the support of parents and the diligent work of the Upward Bound Staff our Summer Program just wouldn’t be the same. And for all of you TRIO students out there- your dedication to this program and attitude in general are not overlooked. You are what makes the TRIO Upward Bound Summer Program what it is- an unforgettable memory. Thank you to everyone and we are looking forward to another great school year!



Watch Out Robert Redford- TRIO Videographers on the Loose!

The Summer Program is Here Already!!!

Next Monday we start our six-week summer program and we could not be more excited! All of us in the office have been working tirelessly to ensure that our students have a great time during the summer event. One component of the summer program that we are particularly excited about is the Upward Bound 50th Anniversary Video Competition that we will be taking part in. As many already know, Upward Bound is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year and that is a big deal! To honor Upward Bound and all the amazing things that it has helped students accomplish, the Council for Opportunity in Education (COE) is putting on a video completion in which students can submit short videos about what Upward Bound is to them and the impact that it has had in their lives. This year in our TRIO class during the summer program we are going to have our students work in groups to make awesome videos of their own! They will work with their fellow UB classmates to brainstorm, storyboard, shoot and edit a short video for submission into the contest. We all think that this will be a great opportunity for students to try out their acting, directing and editing skills and get to know their fellow Upward Bounders better! If all goes according to plan our hope is to have a “viewing party” at the end where students can showcase their hard work to all the other students and parents would be welcome to come and see what their students created! 

We will keep you posted with more information about how it’s going- there is no doubt that our students will come up with some pretty awesome and creative stuff!